Charles Wesley was born on December 18, 1707 at Epworth in Lincolnshire. He was the eighteenth child of Anglican rector Samuel (1662–1735) and Susanna Annesley Wesley (1669–1742). He studied at Westminster School in London from 1716 to 1726 after which he entered Christ Church College, Oxford University. It is here in 1729 that Charles founded the Holy Club that fostered the Methodist movement. Charles Wesley received his Master’s degree in 1733. In 1735 he was ordained deacon and priest in the Church of England shortly before departing for the North American mission field.
In 1749 Charles married Sally Gwynne. They had eight children together, three of which reached adulthood: Charles, Jr., Sarah, and Samuel. Charles Wesley died peacefully on March 29, 1788.
The Charles Wesley Family Materials at Bridwell Library digital collection presents large-format scans with complete, searchable transcriptions of forty-one letters and written and visual documents related to the family of Charles Wesley (1707–1788). These items document the lives of Charles Wesley, his wife Sarah Gwynne Wesley (1726–1822), their sons Charles Wesley, Junior (1757–1834) and Samuel Wesley (1766–1837), their daughter Sarah Wesley (1759–1828), and their grandson, the composer Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810–1876). The Bridwell Library collection of early Methodist documents at Bridwell Library has developed by means of selective purchases and generous gifts, particularly a major donation by Bishop Frederick DeLand Leete (1866–1958). For more information about the Charles Wesley Family Materials, please contact Bridwell Library Special Collections.